The Ramones-Runaways alliance

The Ramones and The Runaways were heading in opposite directions when the two bands arrived for a January 15, 1978 gig at the Tomorrow Club. The Ramones were surfing high on the crest of the punk rock wave as the band’s third album Rocket to Russia surged to No. 49 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Forever a band churning out what they thought were radio-friendly hit singles, the single “Rockaway Beach” peaked at No. 66 on the singles charts in 1978 earning what would be the band’s highest charting single. Little did the band know that the first mainstream punk rock push was about to come crashing down during the year. The Ramones were probably unaware that their English rivals – the Sex Pistols – had disintegrated a day earlier after a disastrous American tour which ended with a whimper in San Francisco.

The Runaways were road veterans at this point in their young career, but the grueling schedule and pressure of international stardom had seen lead singer and blonde bombshell Cherie Currie depart the band in the fall of 1977. Johnny Ramone said years later in a radio interview that he was disappointed when he found out Currie was not going to be on tour because he had a crush on her. Joan Jett took over the majority of vocal duties, but creative differences between her and Lita Ford would lead the band to break-up in April of 1979.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: The Ramones recorded – in my opinion – their best live album NYC 1978 on January 7, 1978 at the Palladium in New York City. That was part of the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show archive. The Runaways were allegedly recorded by WMMS for their January 17, 1978 show at the Cleveland Agora. I have yet to come across that recording on the Internets, though.

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